Greenies need to 'accept democracy' - Macfarlane

Queensland Resources council chief executive and former federal minister for resources and energy, Ian Macfarlane.
Queensland Resources council chief executive and former federal minister for resources and energy, Ian Macfarlane. GLENN HUNT

THE Queensland resource industry's top spokesman has called for activists to "accept democracy” and stop challenging new mines in court.

Speaking at a lunch in Brisbane on Wednesday, Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane said green activist groups were hindering democracy when they used legal processes as a "court of delay” to slow down mine developments.

But activist group Lock the Gate has defended their use of the legal system to challenge mines.

Adani's Carmichael coal mine, New Hope's expansion of the New Acland mine, and GVK's Kevin's Corner have all been before the courts in recent weeks.

Mr Macfarlane, a former federal resources minister, said if top scientists accepted the environmental risks and politicians approved the mine, it should not have to face indefinite court challenges.

"What we need though, is an acceptance of democracy,” he said.

"If the best public servants in Queensland and the best scientists in Queensland and nationally accept the project is viable and is done in an environmentally friendly way, why should that be challenged constantly and continuously in the court. By those people who aren't looking for an outcome, simply to delay it?”

"What we need is a legal process that's not abused, it's used in the way it was intended. It was intended to be a court of appeal, it's now being used as a court of delay. We need a process where costs are attributed.”

Lock the Gate spokeswoman Carmel Flint said the industry's use of the court system was hypocritical.

"Mining companies use the courts whenever it suits them for their own agenda, but scream blue murder and 'delay' whenever the community exercises their legal rights. It's blatant hypocrisy and double standards,” she said.

"The mining giants despise any uncertainty for them, but create immense uncertainty and stress for farmers who rely on groundwater to make a living and run their businesses.”

Mr Macfarlane said he believed up to three new, high-tech and low-emission coal power plants, were "inevitable”, but should not prevent the uptake of renewable energies.

Describing himself as an environmentalist, Mr Macfarlane said he supported a move to renewable energy but believed fossil fuels would play a role in transition to a low-carbon future.

- NewsRegional

Topics:  coal court ian macfarlane lock the gate mining queensland resources council

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